“Perfect Great Racers” Make It 39 In A Row

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was 1977 and a few hundred runners toed the starting line what would in time become one of the premiere running events in the nation.

The city of Pittsburgh’s Great Race. This Sunday, 21 runners who’ve run every Great Race since then will run it once more.

“This is the very first shirt from 1977,” Wayne Jacobs said.

Jacobs is one of them — a young man still in 20s in 1977, on Sunday the 67-year-old will return again for the 39th straight time. Not quite as spry but still game.

“Slowing down but it’s still fun. Still enjoyable. You make a lot of friends and that’s probably the best thing about this whole running thing is all the friends you make,” he said.

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One of those friends is Phil Erhman. He was at Pitt in 1977 and also carries the title of perfect great racer today. Together with 19 others — he and Wayne have formed a kind of brotherhood — that carries on the legacy of the race and meet every year at the starting line for a group picture.

“They don’t run like they used to run. It’s a little tougher on the body but they want to be there. They want to continue the streak,” Ehrman said.

For Erhman the real streak has been passing on running and the Great Race to his kids — who have started Great Race streaks of their own. He plans to be back with them next year and for years to come.

Sheehan: You’d like to get 40
Erhman: Oh I’d like to get 40. I’d like to get 50. I feel healthy. I think most of the guys feel pretty good.


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